Supreme Court to hear case on repairing Indian buildings

The Supreme Court announced Monday it would decide if the government can be sued for allowing buildings on Indian land to fall into disrepair, the Associated Press reported.

The decision could be far-reaching, because the United States has more than 56 million acres of land in trust for Indian tribes. Justices will review a case involving the White Mountain Apache Tribe, which wants the government to spend $14 million repairing buildings at Fort Apache in Arizona.

The Bush administration argues that the government never promised to keep up the buildings. Fort Apache was built by the Army in 1870. Since 1960, the Interior Department has controlled the land, which includes a school and more than 30 other buildings.

Some of the buildings have been condemned. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the government could be sued for breach of trust under the 1960 law that put the land under the Interior Department.